What Librarians Wish Publishers Knew: We Build Buzz #BEA

BEAA panel with five people… moderator – from earlyword.com

publishers have been talking about libraries as discovery venues

Why? Brick & mortar stores are disappearing, so libraries are a great place to actually still touch stuff.

Modern public library is designed to display books, library websites are just starting to display books

Michael Colford – their catalog

  • they use Bibliocommons
  • Bibliocommons sites sorta share audiences – if you put up a book trailer, it’s shared across all sites
  • interesting comments about books as our brand. He thinks we should embrace that instead of distance ourselves from it
  • discovery – make the book easy to find, make similar books easy to get as a second option, make a buy it now button easy to find too. Have all of this be a complete library experience, rather than sending someone off to an outside store.
  • Reader’s Advisory – reviews, book trailers, aggregation of book blogs – pull all of those together
  • hook events into the catalog – mentions of, other libraries, live stream these from the catalog, etc
  • de-emphasize the best sellers. We build the reader, and are market-makers for books and authors. Connect people with other books besides the best sellers

Sari Feldman, Cuyahoga County Public Library

  • 40% of their materials budget is for print books, 60% for other things
  • They focus more on best sellers than Boston Public does
  • They consulted with Nancy Pearl to help them re-work their readers advisory focus
  • She said there are no bookstores in Cuyahoga County (then she said there are two independent bookstores). They are The Place for books
  • They use their Facebook Page heavily. Readers advisory – tell us three books you love, we’ll tell you three more you will love. Love this idea!
  • People are looking for recommendations on Facebook – people come there to chat about it, and other people answer (the librarians do too).
  • They want their website and catalog to have that energy too

Lynn Wheeler, Director, Carroll County Public Library

  • They chose a book – The Dressmaker – bought a bunch of them and displayed it in all of their branches, promoted it in all branches, held an author talk, did programs around the event, etc. Made the book a local best seller.
  • you can do partnerships – example was a partnership with schools
  • battle of the books – bought a bunch of books, then had kids vote for books. Gave a set of the books to the schools who were competing. Held a trivia type event in the schools. Gave a huge trophy to the winners.

Virginia Stanley, Director, Library Marketing, HarperCollins

  • library marketing
  • do Skype sessions with the authors

Goodreads for Publishers, Booksellers & Librarians #BEA

BEASo this morning, I was hopping around between the BEA Bloggers Conference and the BookExpo America (BEA) conference. I will be crazy like that all week – because Blogworld Expo is in the same building. I’ll plan on tagging my posts #BEA, #BEABloggers, and #Blogworld.

First off, I listened to Patrick Brown, Community Manager & Author Program Manager at Goodreads, talk about Goodreads for librarians, publishers, and booksellers. My library uses Goodreads, so this should be interesting!

Goodreads: largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. Think of it as social networking around a love of books. 9 million readers! It includes recommendations, reviews, shelves, and book clubs.

They get 21 million monthly unique visitors, and 140 million page views a month.

Wow – goodreads users have added 315 million books to their shelves so far.

Goodreads’ mission is Discovery – help people find books they love and share them with friends.

Your goal (publishers, authors): get reviews, especially early in the life of your book.

  • it helps new readers discover your book
  • help readers decide if they want to read it
  • spread beyond Goodreads (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, syndication to Powell’s, Google Books, USA Today)

Publishers can place ad campaigns in Goodreads.

Erica Barmash, Harper Perennial – explanation of an ad campaign for a book.

  • banner ad on the homepage and throughout the site
  • total impressions – 4.7 million, 10,315 actual clicks. Goodreads got them more clicks that People or Entertainment Weekly.
  • Cost per click as about $1.12
  • she felt they got the best ad value with Goodreads – Goodreads gives stats on how many people added the book to their shelves and marked the book “to read.”
  • did a video chat with the author (had hundreds of viewers).

Back to Patrick:

42,000 Goodreads authors. Benefits:

  • build your community online with an author profile
  • find new readers with giveaways and text ads
  • connect with fans

Advance giveaways generate pre-release buzz

  • 35,000 people enter giveaways each day
  • average giveaway gets 850 entries.
  • it shows at least some engagement, and an interesting way to get interest
  • give more books in a giveaway – helps get more reviews (so like 25 books to give away)

You can also purchase text ads (around $50) to drive readers to a giveaway

Goodreads Groups:

  • 20,000+ book clubs on Goodreads
  • create a masthead (use this for branding), add prominent links to videos
  • add your events and invite friends
  • host an author chat in advance of your event

Use your staff picks to good use!

Salt Lake City Public Library (or maybe Salt Lake County Library System – he sorta mixed both libraries up a bit) group case study:

  • librarians act as moderators to control group content
  • use challenges and polls for easy participation (i.e, read 5 short stories in May, then post about it)
  • Some groups use Google Plus hangouts, Skype, etc to get more interaction happening

Tips for a successful group:

  • book clubs around a single title are stifling
  • reading challenges let people choose
  • don’t ignore the long tail reader
  • anticipate conflict and plan ahead (set up ground rules in advance)
  • let all users join in – more fun that way.

We’re Writing a Novel!

book and ebookMy library is heading up a really cool project that I thought I’d tell you guys about.

In short, we thought we’d write a novel.

A community-driven novel, that is. Here’s a blurb about the project: “A community novel is one that is written collaboratively by members of your community. The library invites writers to each contribute a chapter to advance the group’s story. The story is set in Topeka and will use landmarks and a setting that all will recognize. Writing and publication began in April and continues through August with a chapter added each week (just like any other serial novel you’ve experienced). Each chapter will appear here so you may read them in order, with a new chapter published each week.”

Here’s a link to the main page for the project, and here’s chapter one. Please read it!

When we’re done writing the novel, we plan to throw an author book signing party! We also plan to publish the book in both ebook and print formats, and sell it online. And we’ll put the book in our collection, so people can check it out.

We have two goals:

  1. We want to showcase content creation in our local community, and this type of focused writing project provides us with a fun way to start doing that.
  2. We also want to get our feet wet in content creation. Libraries traditionally house books, help customers find books, and create programs around books and authors, etc. Why can’t a library and a community … create a novel?

Anyway – check it out – chapter two comes out this week!

book pic by Remi Mathis

Social Media as Place

My last post about those billboards reminded me about the difference between a library’s normal forms of content (books, DVDs, music CDs, etc) and social media.

What’s that difference?

  • Content – a book, a video, etc – is something you DO. You read a book, you watch a movie.
  • Social Media is a place you visit in order to DO. You visit Facebook in order to share something with your mom.

Think of social media as a crowded room in a pretty social setting. A bar, a party, hanging out with friends, etc. You go there to talk, to share, to listen. It’s a place you visit so that you can do something.

There are a couple of cool intersections though. Things like this:

  • Go to Twitter (a place) to talk (something to do) about a book that everyone’s reading (content).
  • Visiting the library (a place) to use the computer to access Facebook to reconnect with a friend (something to do).

So librarians … use your mad powers of social media to connect with your customers to talk about your content. Then see what happens.

image by Bigstock

The Daily Grape and the Daily Book?

Gary Vaynerchuk, who made videos about wine at Wine Library TV and now at the Daily Grape, has a really cool idea about how to add value to his wine videos, and to help his viewers keep track of (and buy) wine they’re interesting in trying.

Here’s what Gary wants to do (from episode #1 of the Daily Grape):

  • Create mobile app-based video (and have a web-based version too)
  • Make his videos shorter
  • Make the content entertaining and usable
  • Created a mobile app (Daily Grape in the iTunes app store) that goes along with the videos

Gary noticed that he mentions a lot of wine, and some of his viewers forget about the wine after they’re done watching the video. So why not make an app to solve that problem?

Here’s how Gary’s app works:

  • sign up for a free account through the Daily Grape app.
  • Then, watch one of Gary’s videos
  • If you like the sound of a wine Gary mentions, you can click through to the video details, and add the wine to your wish list.
  • Then you have a handy list when you’re at a restaurant or a wine store.
  • You can also comment on the wines found on the app.

Cool idea, huh? Believe it or not, I think this could work for libraries, too. More wine for everybody! No, just kidding.

We have books, don’t we? My library has a collection of almost 500,000 books/videos/etc. Do you think our patrons can remember all those titles?

Right – probably not. But that’s why some of the newer ILS’s include things like wish lists, tags, and comments. I’ve seen some library catalogs that let you take those wish lists and turn them into RSS feeds, which gives your patrons the ability to embed their lists wherever they want.

That’s cool. But what if library staff did the same thing? Why not keep a running list of staff picks that can be discovered in the catalog and on the website. And on the library’s blog sidebar (since it’s embeddable). And in Facebook (with a little coding added in).

In fact, my library is already providing some of that, in the form of blog posts with links to good books that happen to be in our collection.

So – just a slightly different, slightly more purposeful way to think about content created by library staff. Be a bit purposeful, like Gary Vaynerchuk – direct your customer to good content, help them check stuff out – and provide them with ways to remember the books they want to read.

Do you do that? If so – how do you do it?